Day 1 – Sabrosa - on the way to the Douro Wine Region and its famous vineyards
Start your journey with a transfer from Porto airport to Sabrosa, a small town famous as the birthplace of Ferdinand Magellan, the first navigator to circumnavigate the Earth. Discover the natural beauty of this town surrounded by vineyards, one of the gates to the demarcated Douro Wine Region. The vineyards that form the background and the peace and quiet of this town are a sample of what you will expect to enjoy during the rest of your itinerary.
Day 2 – Sabrosa – the essence of the Douro Region with its splendid scenery, vineyards and olive groves
Begin by walking around Sabrosa on ancient rural roads and tracks. Begin with the houses in the centre of town that give way to a verdant landscape of pine trees and vineyards. You will pass the first quintas, the name given to the wine estates where the vines are grown and where the farmhouse often also houses the winery. The peace and quiet of the place is often sought after as a refuge from the stress of day-to-day life. The view over the waving blanket of lush vineyards in Fermentões is truly breathtaking. The Douro Region begins to reveal its charms!
The optional program offers an opportunity to appreciate the more human and authentic nature of the production of olive oil, with a welcoming visit to the press and tasting at a small local producer’s installations.
Day 3 – Provesende – village of baroque and neoclassic manor houses
Leave Sabrosa along rustic stone-paved roads connecting the numerous winemaking quintas. The vine-covered terraces and their retaining walls were laboriously built by Man by breaking up the schistose stone of the hillsides. The trail magically opens up after the village of Celeirós to reveal the majestic Douro Region landscape: hills covered in lush green vineyards on which the winemakers have painted the names of their properties. Arriving at the superb Monte São Domingos viewpoint, you will discover one of the finest landscapes in the entire region. From there, your journey will end in Provesende, a well-kept historic winemaking village with a wealthy heritage containing the largest number of manor houses in the Douro Region, with impressive baroque and neoclassic facades dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries.
The bakery and appealing aroma of freshly baked bread from the wood oven and the handcraft shops with locally produced items are just some of the interesting places to explore.
You will have the option to visit a Port and Douro winemaking estate where you will be welcomed to enjoy special tastings and learn how these famous wines are made.
Day 4 – Lalim – world famous terraced vineyards and the town of Pinhão
Today’s hike connects Provesende to Pinhão along a medieval road that will take you down the hillsides to the riverside, always accompanied by the admirable work of Man who built the terraces, stone by stone. Pinhão, considered to be the geographic centre of the Douro Winemaking Region, is the regional headquarters for many of the best-known Port and Douro winemaking firms. Located between the Douro and the Pinhão rivers, it is one of the most picturesque villages in Portugal. The train station, built at the end of the 19th century and decorated with beautiful hand painted tiles describing life in the region, is especially worthy of a visit. You will have the option of a visit and tasting of the exceptional wines produced at one of the fascinating wineries.
From Pinhão, take a ride on a typical rabelo boat, identical to the craft that for centuries carried the young Port Wine down the Douro River to the warehouses in Vila Nova de Gaia, across from Porto. After you disembark, you will be transferred to your final destination of the day, Lalim. This is a chance to bask in the peace and quiet of this rural town and to renew your energies for what is waiting for you!
Day 5 – Lalim – mountain villages of demons and ancestral traditions
This day we shall take a circular route up and down hills and valleys, beginning at and returning to Lalim. The entire walk brings you in touch with nature as you cross areas of small farms, pine groves and several picturesque villages with granite-built houses along stone streets. From the highest point of the trail you will delight in the superb views over the land, dotted with multiple small medieval bridges over rivers and streams. Lazarim is a small village whose stones ooze magic and witchcraft, which can also be seen in the famous wooden masks carved by local craftsmen for the Carnival celebrations, considered the most genuine of their kind in Portugal. These masks represent demons and other supernatural beings, an expression of the ancient cultures that are still alive in the region. A visit to the Iberian Mask Interpretative Centre and a meeting with local craftsmen will be truly memorable!
Day 6 – Lamego, a city of monuments in the Douro Region
It is time to bid farewell to Lalim. Amble along small roads and paths amongst villages, vineyards and vast apple orchards famous for the perfume of their fruit. At the small local café, ring the bell to call the owner who will welcome you with open arms. This is where the Cistercian monks produced wine during the 12th century, where they shaped the environment and worked the land, cultivated their vines and created winemaking techniques and traditions that have been handed down to this day. Here you will find some of the finest Portuguese sparkling wines. Before you reach Lamego, you may wish to choose the option to visit and taste those made in a historic winery. Your final destination, the historic city of Lamego, boasts the richest architectural heritage in the Douro Region. Dating from the middle ages are the castle, at the top of the city, and most especially the beautiful cathedral with its sumptuous monumental baroque staircase. Climb up the 686 steps surrounded by lush gardens and richly decorated with works of art: statues, obelisks, fountains and handcrafted decorative tile panels.
Day 7 – Cambres, along the Pilgrims’ Way to Santiago de Compostela and historic wineries
Beginning on the streets of central Lamego, this last trail takes you partly along one of the secular pilgrims’ ways in the interior of Portugal as they make their way to Santiago de Compostela. Those who travel them today experience life-time challenges, attractions and lessons. Your journey will be accompanied by the impressive environment of vineyards and historic quintas as it was here that the first great vineyards in the winemaking region were planted during the 12th century. Your goal is Cambres, a town surrounded by a green blanket of vineyards, near Régua, the capital city of the Douro Winemaking Region. Attractive stone-paved roads take you past famous quintas where you may choose to visit and taste Port and Douro wines in one of the most famous wineries in the region, dating from the 16th century. Live this last day in your itinerary to the fullest, one that will live on as being memorable for the most fantastic landscapes and wines that Portugal has to offer!
Day 8 – Departure
Transfer back to Porto Airport.
End of your journey.